Parted Love


I stop somewhere waiting for you
now that our roads have diverged

and wonder if some path
might lead you back to me.

I couldn’t explain
how to find this scenic outlook

where I watch beauty
from a distance as cars speed past.

I wouldn’t anyway.
Oh, I see the tracks that led here,

ancient footprints preserved in sediment,
but when I look up, nothing is familiar.

Not knowing where I am
how can there be a way forward?

In which direction should my heart turn?
Will the next step send me

careening down a cliff?
I stare at the bend in the road,

longing for you to appear.
Hoping you never do.

This paralysis is no test of your love
if love you ever did.

This is not about you at all.
So quietly did love ninja into my life,

I never noticed
until you stole it away.

Old comfortable jeans worn through
I can’t bear to discard,

our love now faded.
But, if I were to hear

your voice across time or space,
my face would smile.

I’d ache to press my lips against yours,
to caress your naked back in embrace.

I know this will never be,
should never be,

and so I remain rooted in this empty expanse
lest love sneak in again

and rip this hole you left –
not one you could now fill,

it’s already bigger than you ever were –
even wider.


Note: The first line of this poem (italicized above) is the final line of the poem “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman


©2023 Kenneth W. Arthur